Showing posts with label Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

"a good-good day"

We've had such a grey start to the year, so when I saw the sun come up this morning, it already felt like the start of a good day...

Then... I acted on my impulse (and the lovely Nicole's encouragement) and auditioned for Sistrum, the Lansing Women's Chorus today. I'm in! (I think they take everyone who wants to sing 🙂.) 

And then... Big A signed the contract with a Michigan-based hospital! It'll take him until the next academic year (July) to transition out of Medical College of Wisconsin, but he'll be back at home full-time after that! Huge pay-cut and all, I'm so ready for this!

Pic: Sunrise through our only eastern window. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

blooms, fumes, and news

Yesterday when I was making an offering plate to take to the temple with At, I couldn't find a single bloom. The paperwhites and hyacinths that were so heady a couple of weeks ago were all past their prime. A new batch of paperwhites I'd started had grown very tall and then very floppy, but haven't produced any blooms. I ended up taking silk flowers and fruit to the temple... Today, my Christmas amaryllis (from LB and TB) is blooming in the tea garden! Long may it bloom.

I must remember to ask Nu if they want me to listen or problem solve when they start fuming. Nu has an ambitious essay project, whose working title is, "the undersupply of creativity in alternative music cultures under capitalism." It's a wonderful topic and I've listened to Nu share ideas about it for months now, but it may also be a bit too much for a fifteen-year-old who's struggling at school to accomplish on a timetable and according to a rubric. They're currently mad at their teacher, and I didn't help matters by intervening to say that actually, the structure and strategies their teacher proposed seem relevant and reasonable.

A long teaching day with bits of sparkly news: AH, a student from last term, stopped by to say they'd taken the Howard Zinn quote in my email signature to frame their senior dance presentation; KS, my independent thesis student, was named as a Fulbright finalist; students I nominated for the Barlow award have been shortlisted. (Those students have turned around and asked for me to write their reference letters, which I'm honored to do... But of course it does mean more to do.)

And--TA-DA--at the end of the day, I got to pick Big A up from the train station! Nu had already gone to bed, but Scout and Huck are thrilled he's back from Wisconsin (or "Piss-consin" as the puppies call it disrespectfully because they resent that he has to be there so much). 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Last (of) Christmas

We'd missed At two weekends in a row--the first because there was camping with college friends and then the rest of us went to Yellow Springs for Christmas #2. So it was really nice to have At visit twice this weekend.

There was dinner and chatting and watching the first episodes of The Last of Us, which both Nu and I remember watching At play as a game in a different mode of life. I remember how excited At was to show me how in that particular post-apocalypse vines took over the insides of buildings, thinking it would be an aesthetic I'd enjoy. How hard that child had tried to share something they enjoyed (video games) with me! I wish I'd spent longer slung out in those chairs in that childhood bedroom taking it in instead of rushing on to whatever else I'd thought was important. 

Today there was a temple visit, red envelopes from Lunar New Year, and grandparents' Christmas presents to pass on. Someday, no doubt, even this fleeting drop-in will seem a highlight of past life. 

Pic: Scout helping At open his presents from the Grandma S and Grandpa J.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

"Hello? Is it me you're looking for?"



Hello, dear deer... I'm sorry there isn't a lot of tasty stuff outside right now, but I noticed you were grazing on something, and you're welcome to whatever you found.

Friday, January 27, 2023

"Overseas Citizen"

I opened the envelope very carefully, sending up prayers, knowing I'd done my best with the documentation, trying not to carried away by the hard shape I could feel through the envelope...

And I now have my "Overseas Citizen of India" card! It looks like a passport, and it means I don't have to apply for a visa to visit India--the idea that I would need a visa felt so alienating to me and had been one of the reasons I didn't apply for U.S. citizenship until I'd lived here for 20+ years.

Pic: When I opened the envelope containing my OCI card at the altar. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

winter #76519

winds search me head to toe
volant, a waterfall of sound
their coldness is everywhere 
but also--so patient with me 

I listen: they tell me everything
dumb once upon a winter time
so loudly, intending to alert all
my personal emergency systems
-------------------------------
Pic: The backyard from the upstairs landing. It almost looks like a black-and-white picture... except for the pillows that I always fail to bring in every year...

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

So Much Snow!

A neighboring school district had a snow day (they had a gun incident yesterday, so may have taken this as a reprieve) but Nu had school and so did I.

Lots of shoveling though. Big A was prepping for his grand rounds lecture tomorrow, so I did the honors (without the benefit of the snowblower as I've never learned how to work it). We have a really nice shovel that makes things easy, but I was nevertheless sweat-soaked by the time I finished. It was so satisfying to look up the driveway and see how neat my work was.

I'm currently reading two novels, and it's a bit weird. I'm almost done with the new Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead, (which is in itself a take on Dickens' David Copperfield) but I dipped into OM's The Dream Builders and couldn't put it down, so I'm about halfway through that too. I guess I was curious if there were any versions of me in OM's novel... Ever since I found what I thought was a reference to me in an Amit Chaudhuri, I've been curious/wary. I just reread that nearly 20-years-ago post and realize many Indian girls would probably fit that description.

Pic: Trellises with scoops of snow in the back garden.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Gong Xi! Gong Xi!

EM's cute story when she dropped off treats this evening (we got home too late yesterday with the snow delay) was that she used to think that "Gong Xi! Gong Xi!" meant "money! money!"

Nu is flush with cash, just having received some Christmas money, but was already counting the red envelopes to come.

Grateful for yet another new year, and grateful for friends who treat my kids like family. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

five pups tonight

I spent many hours on the sofa in post-pizza and post-teaching lassitude this evening, accompanied by Scout (at my hip) and Huck (by my feet) and Floof (on the bannister). The fourth pup is me ("Pup," "Puppy," and "Princess Puppy Dog" have been nicknames from different loved ones--one of whom has a birthday today). 

The fifth pup is in this poem by Charles Simic (Simic died recently and I've been thinking of this poem about how we don't deserve dogs--or war--a lot). 

On this Very Street in Belgrade

Your mother carried you

Out of the smoking ruins of a building

And set you down on this sidewalk

Like a doll bundled in burnt rags,

Where you now stood years later

Talking to a homeless dog,

Half-hidden behind a parked car,

His eyes brimming with hope

As he inched forward, ready for the worst.

 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Happy Pongal!


SO glad the sun came out for Pongal today! 

I went out with a little offering for the sun and Scout and Huck-- good Hindu babies that they are--accompanied me. 

(Of my other babies: At was off camping with friends and Nu was taking a well deserved nap after working out with Big A this morning.) 

The last couple of years our Pongals have been heavy with snow.

Not today though.

Nice one, 2023!



Thursday, January 12, 2023

address uh-oh woes

It felt so good to stand with Nu in December--talking and snacking as we set up an assembly line for getting the holiday cards in the mail: putting on address labels and stamps and inserting the chatty newsletter and sealing the envelopes... 

Only, at least two of the cards we sent out have been returned to us because the little label indicating the delivery address seems to have fallen off. Yet another friend posted a picture of our card sans their address--at least their address label fell off after it was delivered to them.

I don't know whom these sad returned cards were addressed too, so I'm feeling self-conscious, wondering if people think I'm that rude dummy who didn't send them a card this year. 

I guess the lesson is check the work of teens who're not into the task that means so much to you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

a second day of sunshine this year

We're getting fancy in Lansing, MI
the day no longer seems some
element to overcome

the sun shines like it does on TV
skies turn from blank openings
to bliss in a blue abyss 

(tree shadows too have RSVP-ed 
to be on guard, fend off the look
of a picture postcard)

Pic: Second day of sunshine in Jan 2023. 

Sunday, January 08, 2023

an ode to rest

How like a winter hath my absence been
so what if I've been busy with sleep
the machinery of the day lets me be
in a time of year filled with starting:
I am the weight of flowers on a grave 
I am the songs of stones grown older 
I am the circle spreading boldly in me 

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
I only have to close my eyes to find all--
fancy is longlegged, dashes fast and far
history recedes like a corridor of dreams
fades into quietness on each side of sleep 
dark, dawn become the same masquerade
so yes, my friend--begin the year with rest



Note: Stanza first lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 97 that begins:
"From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! 
What old December’s bareness every where! 
How like a winter hath my absence been..."

Saturday, January 07, 2023

alignments

At came to dinner and a cuddle (pictured) today. 

Because I'd just posted about cuddly Scout, It reminded me how despite being different species, our babies Scout and At are alike and Huck and Nu are alike. 

If we moved up a generation, Scout, At, and I are alike and Huck, Nu, and Big A are alike. The way we act, respond, our temperaments, almost everything. The first set tends to be smiley, gentle, tender; the second set tends to be serious, ferocious, and staunch. In a crisis, you want the second set--they're the ones who'll stare people down (Nu), stick to a plan (Huck), and bark orders (Big A). 

Not sure how much of this is true, how much of this is forcing some absolute structure on to truth, and how much of this is pure family myth-making and mythology. 

Anyway, it was a good cuddle, and I'll have to make it do for a while. Next week, At is off to "a cabin in the suburbs" with some college friends.
 

Thursday, January 05, 2023

the long arc (a poem for Scout)

I keep walking backwards 
from want to hope
they tell me I use 
"hope" to cope

my pulse beats with regret 
and distress though
it's true they too 
worship hope 

I know I keep disappearing
into a gratefulness
parroting prayers
to survive

remembering to thank ancestors 
(the ones that petted wolves)
who knew love would
arrive as you 
------------------------------------------------
Pic: Scout the champion snuggler... his arm over my leg 😍

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

1, 2, 3, journeys

How do you comfort someone who's lost a sibling? I had no adequate words, but I made my way over anyway bearing a tiffin box with dinner, snacks, and two funny DVDs. I found the vase in a thrift store last week, and this week matching flowers showed up for me to take to my grieving friends. I'm ashamed to say that when I was younger there were times when I'd avoid such visits. Thankfully, I've learned--mostly through people's kindness to me--how showing up is important. Life has been a long journey of learning about all the stuff that is not about me at all. 

Speaking of long journeys, I finally finished Anna Karenina. Big A, the judgmental monogamist, approved of how Tolstoy delineates the awfulness of an extra marital affair although T does it without ever resorting to moralization. I myself was heartily sick of Levin, supposedly a stand in for old Leo himself, by the end though. 

In other journeys, KB's flight out of Minneapolis was delayed by over a day, so JG has postponed our reunion lunch from today to Friday--just after my first committee meeting of the new year. That left me with a suddenly wide open day that I used for course prep, an extra long walk, an extra long soak, and extra reading time before I went to get Nu from school. It's my "Boss Day" so the extra time for indulgence was compulsory! 🙃

Monday, January 02, 2023

Jan energy

Wrestled the Christmas tree down and did a deep clean of the house. Any remaining glitter will just have to be absorbed into the aesthetic. All the Christmas cookies, sweets, and treats have been finished off. Most back-to-school work has resumed. 

We're basically in full-on January mode. "Ready" may not be the right word, but I'm certainly eager to get the year started.

Pic: Still delighted with last year's snow globe find... I didn't add any to the collection this year.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

this day doesn't have to mean anything about the year to come...

I'm reminding myself that nothing about today magically repeats 364 times. 

On the surface, lots of sweet things about today: a long hike with Big A, another hike by myself, a long chat with my baby sis, a small hangout with LB and TB, a long bubbly soak with Big A, a sweet treat delivered by L, dinner with the fam, a travel board game after dinner, and puppy + human cuddles throughout. 

But... I had also wanted to fit in some yoga, which didn't happen and I never even made it to the month-long online "Binders" writing workshop that started today. It was as though the unrelenting greyness of the cloudy day we had here seeped into everything I enjoy.

Also, I'm still in my reread of Anna Karenina and (a) I want to be done and reading something else especially since... (b) the love affair has dwindled into depressing territory and... (c) I still glaze over when Levin goes on about cooperative farming (sorry about that to the socialists in my life). 

Finally, I got a rejection on something I'd submitted via Submittable. I was sad for a while, then I just went ahead and submitted to two other places. I do hope I can keep that kind of obstinate energy going all year long. 

Pic: Playing "Around the World." Quite challenging! Nu won this evening's game. I better go commit some flags to memory before we play again. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Farewell, 2022

A good last day with two long walks with LB and BSL to round off the year. 

A raucous dinner time with Scout and Huck underfoot, and Nu, At, and Big A at the counter for parathas--the person waiting for me to finish the next paratha were in charge of running a round of Truth or Dare. Some calls to grandparents, the traditional new year presents (calendars and something inspiring), a few eps of Joe Pera... and then At was off to a show with friends, Nu was on with friends online, and I joined PM's write-in for the new year on Slack (where I started and abandoned a poem based on PM's prompt). 

And then, as Big A, Scout and Huck napped inches away from me, it was 2023. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

then there were three; bookclubs for two; one day to 2023

A puppy playdate for Scout and Huck with Henry was the most exciting part of today. They were doing some electrical work at JL's so she hung out here and we got caught up. (Unlooked for excitement was when little Henry thought it would be ok to pee in my tea garden. He immediately stopped midstream when JL shouted "no." I was kinda impressed with his level of control, TBH 🤣.) 

I've been gifting some friends a bookclub-for-two: I'll get both of us copies of the same book so we can read and discuss together. It feels like an experience or together time gift, and the "thing" part of it is still books, so it's not wasteful (they can be passed on or pulped or whatever). Anyway--I did that with Emma Kline for JG and Shilpa Gowda with JL. We plan to start this one in Jan.

The rest of the day was all course prep, writing work, a couple of quick meetings, getting more letters of recommendation in. Then sushi with Big A and Nu.

Almost can't believe it is the weekend, month's end, end of the year already... 

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea....